Guns from U.S. sting found at Mexican crime scenes

Posted: July 27, 2011 in US News, World News

Jeremy Pelofsky
Reuters
July 27, 2011

(Reuters) – At least 122 firearms from a botched U.S. undercover operation have been found at crime scenes in Mexico or intercepted en route to drug cartels there, a Republican congressional report issued on Tuesday said.

Mexican authorities found AK-47 assault rifles, powerful .50 caliber rifles and other weapons as early as November 2009 that were later linked to the U.S. sting operation to trace weapons crossing the border to Mexico, the report said.

Guns from the program, dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious,” were also found at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the border state of Arizona last December. It is unclear if they were the weapons responsible for his death.

U.S. authorities set up the undercover operation in 2009 to try to track guns bought in Phoenix on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, but many of the weapons were never traced after they left the hands of the initial buyer.

The sting has become an embarrassment for the Obama administration and its Justice Department, rather than a victory in stemming the illegal flow of weapons to Mexico.

It has also hurt ties with Mexico, which has been battling the cartels in a war in which tens of thousands have died.

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